Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 1: Tuesday

“Give us today our daily bread...” (Matthew 6:11)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

Since some understand from this that we are commanded to pray for material bread, it will be well to refute their error here and to establish the truth about the epiousion (ἐπιούσιον, supersubstantial) bread. We must ask them how it could be that he who commanded us to ask for great and heavenly favors should command us to intercede with the Father for what is small and of the earth, as if he had forgotten — so they would have it — what he had taught. For the bread that is given to our flesh is neither heavenly, nor is the request for it a great request.

We, on our part, following the Master himself who teaches us about the bread, shall treat the matter explicitly. In the Gospel according to John he says to those who had come to Capernaum seeking for him: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled.” One who has eaten of the bread blessed by Jesus and is filled with it tries all the more to understand the Son of God more perfectly and hastens to him. Hence his admirable command: “Labor not for the meat that perishes but for that which endures to life ever-lasting, which the Son of Man will give you.” The “true bread” is that which nourishes the true humanity, the person created after the image of God.” (On Prayer, 27)

Look upon Your family, Lord,
that, through the chastening effects of bodily discipline,
our minds may be radiant in Your presence
with the strength of our yearning for You.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!